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3 foreign footballers report for Under-20 camp

July 21, 2006 16:27 IST

The search for talented foreign footballers wishing to represent the country received a boost, with three youngsters of Indian origin joining the junior camp in Goa on Friday.

Simran Singh from Denmark, and Arvind Narayan and Umesh Kaushal from Canada landed in the country hoping to represent India.

Singh, who plays as a midfielder-cum-striker for second division Danish club KFUM in Copenhagen, was tapped by talent scouts in Europe looking for players who could represent India.

Arvind Narayan, who turns out for Chicago Fire Youth Academy in the United States, is a winger and midfielder who has also played for Schwaben AC.

Umesh Kaushal is a defender at the Illinois State Olympic Development Programme in the United States and has played for Palatine Celtic FC and the Chicago Fire Youth Academy in America.

"These players have joined the junior (Under-20) camp in Goa, being conducted for the South Asian Games in Colombo next month," an AIFF spokesman said.

"The coaches at the camp, headed by chief junior coach Islam Akhmedov, will assess the potential of these players and if they are found to be of the required standard, necessary formalities to enable them to represent India would be carried out," he said.

Talented players could find their names in the team going to Colombo or even for the Doha Asian Games. India will also play the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia, Japan and Yemen later this year.

New national coach Bob Houghton is keen to tap as many talented players of Indian origin to improve the standard of Indian football. He also wants some players of a bigger build to form a side that can physically go toe-to-toe with more robust sides.

The coach is presently in Canada with the senior team for the Vancouver Whitecaps Nations Cup and will keep an eye on any other talented player of Indian origin, the spokesman said.

On talks about roping in Cardiff City FC striker Michael Chopra, the spokesman said contact was made with the player's agent but he is not interested in turning out for India.

"Efforts are on to find as many talented players of Indian origin and persuade them to turn out for India and the AIFF is very keen in this regard. Many such talents are plying their trade in the leagues of Europe and North America," he said.

According to FIFA regulations, players with dual citizenship or nationality who have not played international football above the under-21 level, are eligible to apply to world football's governing body to change the country they represent.

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